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Health & Fitness Outdoor swimming to treat depression to be trialled

04:50  26 july  2022
04:50  26 july  2022 Source:   news.sky.com

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Prescribing outdoor swimming for depression is going to be trialled as an alternative to medication.

Pic: AP © Associated Press Pic: AP

Scientists want to examine the benefits for people with mental illness offered by ecotherapy - therapeutic intervention through nature.

Experts from the University of Portsmouth will be working with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to examine how a dip in nature compares to antidepressants.

Exercise is already recommended by the NHS as a means to help with low moods for people who suffer with depression.

Immersion in cold water has been shown to reduce stress levels, and a search is on for volunteers for the new study who will take part in a swimming course.

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Swimming lessons will take place at Parliament Hill in London, Lenches Lake in Worcestershire, and Saunton in north Devon.

The results of the swimmers will be compared against a control group using existing treatments for depression.

It comes as scientists and doctors re-examine their understanding of depression following research that suggested some of the mechanics of how the condition worked may be incorrect.

A spokesman for the University of Portsmouth said: "The study, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), will provide preliminary support for using outdoor swimming as an alternative to antidepressants or talking therapies."

Co-author Dr Heather Massey, from the University of Portsmouth's Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, said: "In this new study we are looking at outdoor swimming as part of social prescribing, which looks to support members of the community who are self-referred or referred by a number of professional organisations to community activities that will support them.

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"It's a step up in terms of scientific rigour."

The mental health charity Mind already recommends ecotherapy.

Its website says: "Ecotherapy is a formal type of therapeutic treatment which involves doing outdoor activities in nature."

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

The Samaritans offer support and advice to people feeling suicidal or vulnerable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their website is https://www.samaritans.org, email address jo@samaritans.org or call free on 116 123

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usr: 1
This is interesting!